Writer and artist Emily Helck was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012; she was 28 years old. For the past year, she has been undergoing various treatments and surgeries to combat the disease. When she started chemotherapy in September 2012, Emily started taking weekly photos of herself, which are now featured in this incredibly impactful one minute video.
Emily writes about her breast cancer journey on her blog RTONJ (Real Tumors of New Jersey) where she shares this about the video:
“I normally don’t like looking at photos of myself. Um, particularly when I look like shit. But I feel, I don’t know, separate from this person somehow, even though the last photos are from just a few days ago. I feel like the girl in the photos made it through pretty unscathed, though the look on her face sometimes makes me sad.”
“I’m still not completely sure why I took these photos. At first it had to do with documenting the hair saga. But it wound up becoming about something else, too. The photos became hash marks scratched on the wall, marking time spent inhabiting the world of this disease. Every time I set up the tripod was another week down. Or was it another week lost?”
Emily has finished her treatment and says her health is good, but boldly shares her fears.
“The threat is there, and the terror is there. Though the main players, the tumors in my breast, are dead and far away in a freezer somewhere, there is always the possibility that more are lurking, just waiting to reveal themselves… I’m superstitious about saying that I’m doing well, when it still feels like I’m in someone’s cross-hairs.”
You can follow Emily’s story at RTONJ and check out her artwork here.